It started out like any other day in 1987, but Jan Benes did not realize that his life was about to change forever. A few months earlier, a friend showed him medicinal ginseng roots and how to find them. While walking in the woods near his home in Melnik, Czechoslovakia, he ran across some ginseng. He immediately started to dig, only to find a small treasure chest. Thoughts raced through his mind – could this be the lost, hidden treasure he had only heard about?
Excited, he decided to acquire it, whatever the cost. He learned the landowner would sell, at a very high price. So Jan sold all his possessions – his small house, furniture, and even his car to raise money. Purchasing the land, he knew that he possessed something very special, that would change his life forever.
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Matthew 13:44
PART II – Several Centuries Earlier
A father and son dwelled on a very high place, where they could look down on the low lands and see all that was going on. Receiving reports of increasing violence and crime, the father sent his son to investigate, telling him: “Son, I am sending you down to check out the situation, and take action as you see fit. I know you will do the right thing.”
As the son got close to the scene, he could hear the sounds of wild parties, gunshots, and the wailing of those who lost love ones. He saw people ensnared by the deceitfulness of sin and riches that promise happiness, but deliver misery, heartache, and despair. It broke his heart to see such suffering, as well as evil having its way with so many people. But He discovered a very great treasure – the souls of men and women, created in His image, enslaved by sin and the fear of death.
And so Jesus (you guessed it) fed their bodies with food and their souls with spiritual truth. But He realized they were still enslaved. So in an act of great compassion and love, Jesus sold all that He had – His very life, as a ransom to pay the price for their sin – our sin, that they and we would be freed from the slavery of sin and death.
PART III – The Rest of the Story
Back in the year 1948, Czechoslovakia was a communist state ruled by an evil regime. The state banned all church services, declared that guns, drugs and bibles were illegal, and imprisoned anyone caught with them. Tomas Benes realized his life was in danger, but he would not destroy his bible – the family bible that had been handed down from his father and grandfather.
So he placed it in a treasure chest with some gold coins and buried it in a nearby wilderness area. Unfortunately, he was called up for military service and died before he could tell the location to his family. His family suffered under communism for many years. Bibles were very rare, and people tried to remember passages that meant something to them.
So now you know the rest of the story – that Tomas Benes’ grandson Jan found the hidden treasure – the family Bible that contained his grandfather’s reflections, and rare golden coins that covered the cost of purchasing the land and then some. He finally had possession of the Word of God – the truth that could truly set him free and shed light into the endarkened culture.
PART IV – The Call
If it was necessary, would you be willing to sell all your possessions and give the proceeds to the poor to receive Christ and come into the Kingdom of God? That’s what Christ instructed the rich young ruler to do (and he was sorrowful, because he loved his riches). We who have sold all for our Lord – confessed our sins, surrendered our lives, and received Christ as our Savior, are the beneficiaries of Christ’s ultimate payment. We can live more freely, knowing that we have become citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven, that He has gone to make a place there for us, and He even sent the Holy Spirit to teach, guide, comfort, and love us.
You and I know people who don’t know the Lord and don’t realize we are the great treasure for whom Jesus paid the ultimate price. Our Lord is calling each of us to reach out to them with the love and truth of Christ, to invite them on an incredible spiritual journey that leads to heaven. Will you take the call?
Based in part on true events
To God be the glory